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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 August, 2004, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Scholes quits England
Paul Scholes in action for England
England's Paul Scholes has retired from international football to concentrate on his career with Manchester United.

The 29-year-old, who scored 14 goals in 66 appearances for his country, told United's website: "This is a decision I have not taken lightly."

Scholes, who made his international debut in 1997, added: "I have been considering retiring from international football for a while."

The midfielder bows out having scored once in three years for his country.

Scholes hit the net during England's 4-2 win over Croatia at Euro 2004 but he endured a long barren spell before that and there were calls for him to be dropped.

Eriksson revealed Scholes sought his advice before deciding on his future at international level.

"Paul and I have been speaking about this since Euro 2004," Eriksson told TheFA.com.

He is going out at the top and we respect his decision
Sir Alex Ferguson

"While he remained a key part of my plans for the England team, I fully respect his decision.

"He has a very special talent and it has been a privilege working so closely with him."

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson: "It's straightforward - he wants to spend more time with his family.

"I spoke to Paul nearly a year ago about it when he came to see me and wanted to think about it.

"At the end of the season before he left he said he'd speak to Sven about it and he did that and he's come to his decision.

"Paul has made a great contribution to England and I don't think he feels he's missing anything now.

"I think 66 caps is beyond an average international career, he is going out at the top and we respect his decision."

Steven Gerrard of Liverpool and Chelsea's Frank Lampard were both putting pressure on Scholes for his place in Portugal.

Eriksson's solution was to play all three with Scholes on the left but now he has evidently decided to walk away and leave the two younger men to it.

"I started my England career in 1997 and have enjoyed seven years of great football, playing in the best competitions, with some of the best players, under the best managers," said Scholes.

"Euro 2004 was fantastic but afterwards I felt the time was right for myself and my family to make it my last England appearance.

"I would like to thank everyone at England for the wonderful years I had playing for the team and all the experience I gained. I wish them all the best and good luck for the future."




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